Games, Design & Game Design

Milan Process – Failing Forward

In Design Practice, Design Process, Milan, Product Design on March 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

 

Things I Learned:

  • I brought twice as much material as I had estimated I’d need. It ended up being barely enough to make one piece. Later, I was told the rule of thumb is bring at least 4 times what you think you need; if you waste half your material twice, then at least you’ll get one thing out of it.
  • Molten metal behaves completely differently from any of my prototyping materials (wax, quick-setting plastic). It was really cute how I thought I could approximate it. It’s so much more dense and viscous even at it’s most molten (or at least it’s most molten we could achieve with the oxy-torch) that it didn’t flow the way I thought/hoped.
  • This experimental casting process is totally experimental. I had hoped to get finished pieces; I barely got one kinda-sorta-prototype out of it.
  • Not being able to actually do it myself is intensely frustrating, even when working with a really chill guy that is absolutely on board with making my crazy idea work.
  • Sandcasting is NOT the process to use to make a precision die. The flaws in the iron surface gave the currency material plenty of opportunity to key in, making it necessary to chisel the material off the die. Extremely not ideal.

Also, the prototype itself really doesn’t have the attractive quality that I had hoped for. So, the idea is expanding and changing a bit – instead of casting different kinds of change ($2 of pennies, $2 of nickels, etc), I’ll be assembling the same face value of various goods as well ($20 of plastic toys, $20 of fine chocolate, $20 of aluminum foil, etc) and casting those over the die. Dematerialization and Rematerialization of value, indeed.

Read on for pics!

Casting Setup

Cast-iron die and ladle ready to go.

Cast-Iron die after a day of work

The poor die after a day of work

The Pieces

Pieces of the rim, pre-welding

Bowl in Progress

Bowl in progress - post-welding, pre-sandblasting

Final Prototype

Final piece, post-sandblasting

Sugar Bowl

Another test - casting the bowl in sugar (over the same die)

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